Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Auckland City Nights

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Islander,

    No-one has ever *given* me money Ben : the prizes some of my books have *earned* is a matter of fate.

    Can't see the distinction, sorry. You worked, you earned. People paid. Same difference. Do you really think that what you did was really no more or less valuable than any old hack?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Susan Snowdon,

    Ben - I work in retail. We get a wage, no bonuses for sales. I would be deeply, deeply embarrassed to be offered money by a customer. Wtf??! It seems patronising and unfair to other staff. I actually really appreciate a genuine thank you, and to be treated with respect and courtesy by customers. If they choose to write to my manager to commend my wonderfulness, even better. (Sadly, they don't...) Sure I would like to earn more than I do, but not at the cost of thinking, hmm, should I suck up to that looks like he's spending customer at the expense of the Jo Average who's wandering aimlessly. We try to be friendly and available to all customers and to do a good job regardless of whether they are spending $5 or $500. If we do a crap job customers vote with their feet, the business flounders, we lose our jobs. (And in the current retail market the latter two are happening anyway.) I think retail service in NZ is a million times better than it was decades ago, even if it still varies from business to business. And where else in the world do customers regularly ask where they might find the thing that your shop doesn't have? And you tell them! And then show them where it is on the map! I love it. And no, I do not own the shop I work in. I'm a minion.

    Since Mar 2008 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    Three cheers for you, Susan. Very heartening.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    Three cheers for you, Susan. Very heartening.

    I'm not sure whether to be happy or bummed by the story. It's nice to hear about people who like their work, not so nice to hear that verbal praise is all the reward they get for giving good service. I guess it's literally the least the customer could do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to BenWilson,

    <q>Do you really think that what you did was really no more or less valuable than any old hack?

    FRANKLY YES- if you are talking about people doing the best they can in a job*.

    I do my best. I expect, under contractual terms, to be paid (under those terms – and believe you me, I’ve been shafted by several publishers. Names available for the unwary (they are all overseas publishers.)) Gifts are a wonderful surprise.

    *Writing is my job: OK, for the last few years, I havent been paid because I am a slow & very “involved” writer, and I’ve sort of been able to support my work (read credit card maximised & mortgage also maxed) because *I* think what I create is – well, at least not a waste of paper-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    +1 Susan Snowdon. Kia ora, kia koa mai na-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Islander,

    FRANKLY YES- if you are talking about people doing the best they can in a job*.

    I'm not sure that we're not talking at crossed purposes here. I'm still undecided about what's the best way to organize a bunch of people who are all giving their best, if the best from some is clearly way better than the best from others. I generally incline to thinking they should be well rewarded in both cases. A person can't help their disability, or their youth, or their lack of training. On the other hand, the absolute value of the more talented person is clearly greater in simple cases. They make more product. They solve harder problems. They serve more customers. They save more lives.

    It's a tricky problem.

    But I do know how I feel about the relative right to good reward between the person who gives their best and the person who gives the bare minimum, when their talents are relatively equal.

    That said, I'm not convinced tipping serves either purpose. But I certainly don't see it as axiomatic that it doesn't. I'm certainly not against it just because I got bad service in America when I was too miserly to tip. And I have my eyes wide open to the sloppiness that egalitarianism can encourage, because I have been guilty of riding it myself, and see it all the time in various service industries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to BenWilson,

    Good Ben/Kia ora Ben-
    a"bunch of people" does not equal an eccentric loner - and
    an eccentric loner does not equal - well - pretty any job situation.
    Let's face it: people who are proud of what they do, and are good at what they do, will do it. They might die financially, and be disabled from doing further public good stuff, but we keep on trying & doing-
    cheers!
    Keri in a big *Oamaru*!!! rainstorm - right now-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, back to Marvel Grill at Wynyard Quarter.

    Friends went there last night: Late, undercooked mains, terrible service (one of them had a tray of drinks spilt on him) and a bill that bore little relation to what had actually been ordered. Half the group walked away without paying when the split bill mysteriously doubled after half of it had been had been paid.

    The owner was there and told my friend he "didn't give a fuck about the internet" when a potential review was discussed. Wow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Susan:

    Infinity minus one non-patronising points for all that. You've really got that good retail service is a long game - I might not max out the overdraft immediately, but I will be a PR Terminator for stores, restaurants etc. that don't treat me like a walking turd. Clerks who know their market and stock - also an epic win.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Having lived in Canada for six years, tipping was a foreign concept when I first arrived, but had it down pat within two months. You tipped at a restaurant/diner/cafe, bar, the cab driver, and hairdresser/barber amongst others but not the bicycle mechanic, or bookstore attendant. And you tipped after service, not before, which meant that the server either gave ok service (equals standard tip) or great service within the confines of their job at the time (equals a little more).

    Mostly I tipped the loose change, and in bars the barman would leave the change on the counter (and not put it in your hand). You picked up what you wanted and left the rest as a tip, usually silver coins (quarters, dimes, nickels). The one time I left a penny tip (an insult) was in Montreal where the guy was appalling all over the place that perhaps he really should not have been working that day.

    I think the discussion about tipping in NZ refers to the cultural concept. Tipping offends a cultural concept we have about tipping which is basically that we are not the United States, and therefore we don't tip - which explains why some people feel offended when offered a tip. There is a cultural construct that positions us NZ'ers as being (smugly) superior to Americans so we reject the idea of tipping. And explain about it in our national airline's magazine.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, back to Marvel Grill at Wynyard Quarter.

    Friends went there last night: Late, undercooked mains, terrible service (one of them had a tray of drinks spilt on him) and a bill that bore little relation to what had actually been ordered. Half the group walked away without paying when the split bill mysteriously doubled after half of it had been had been paid.

    The owner was there and told my friend he “didn’t give a fuck about the internet” when a potential review was discussed. Wow.

    Perhaps I can influence Waterfront Auckland to put in some meal carts - you know, the little caravans and trailers where you could get a few tofu sticks with peanut satay sauce or a wee burger or an icecream. That certainly would help with the clearly huge demand down there.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    Make the stalls surf-lifesaving themed and you'll get Bob Harvey's support :)

    I'm sure he'd approve of the Welli waterfront's latest impromptu addition too.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, back to Marvel Grill at Wynyard Quarter.

    Yes, I can't see tipping helping there. Foot-voting is a much better idea. And making them give a fuck about the internet by writing a shit-can review on every site you can find that even lists them. They may soon start to grasp that people who write reviews that aren't on the internet often get their source material from it. Also, if you're so inclined (I highly doubt many PAS readers are, though) yelling at them angrily can work. If you're lucky, you can get kicked out, and don't have to pay the bastards a cent. THAT is very punishing, and however much it might upset the other patrons, it's actually doing them a favor.

    I've been put off wasting my time on the Wynyard Quarter eateries, that's for sure, although, to be honest, nothing about the look of them from the outside, prior to even reading about it, appealed. They looked like exactly what they sound like, rip off artists targeting the indiscriminate. When there are actually hundreds of good places to eat within a couple of kilometers, why would I waste my money?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to BenWilson,

    When there are actually hundreds of good places to eat within a couple of kilometers, why would I waste my money?

    I vote for a wholesale move of the Ponsonby Food Hall down to Wynyard Wharf.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    I vote for a wholesale move of the Ponsonby Food Hall down to Wynyard Wharf

    Nikki Kaye could help you move it there on a tram.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    I vote for a wholesale move of the Ponsonby Food Hall down to Wynyard Wharf.

    You'll need to fight me for that food court. It's going nowhere!

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    I would be deeply, deeply embarrassed to be offered money by a customer.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    Albert St is a lot closer, has a bigger range and better prices. If you're going to have an Asian food court, surely one that's actually situated amongst the densest Asian population, and frequented by the most Asian people, would actually be better. It only seems good in Ponsonby because the alternatives are dozens of overpriced eateries, cashing in on the wealthy, trendy demographic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    Perhaps I can influence Waterfront Auckland to put in some meal carts - you know, the little caravans and trailers where you could get a few tofu sticks with peanut satay sauce or a wee burger or an icecream. That certainly would help with the clearly huge demand down there.

    I actually think that's exactly the kind of thing the quarter needs. There's space and demand, and it would distinguish it from the other waterfront areas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to BenWilson,

    It only seems good in Ponsonby because the alternatives are dozens of overpriced eateries, cashing in on the wealthy, trendy demographic.

    Thanks for showing us the error of our ways.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Thanks for showing us the error of our ways.

    My pleasure. Because I don't work in the city, when I go looking to eat out, I actually shop around, ranging across the entire city. Albert St is by far the best food court in this town. Only problem, it's so popular that it can be hard to get a seat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Thanks for showing us the error of our ways.

    My pleasure. Because I don't work in the city, when I go looking to eat out, I actually shop around, ranging across the entire city. Albert St is by far the best food court in this town. Only problem, it's so popular that it can be hard to get a seat.

    They're different places. The Albert Street place isn't called Food Alley for nothing. The food, pricing and range are better than Ponsonby, but it's crowded and sometimes not all that pleasant to be in. OTOH, the Ponsonby food hall is a great place for families in the evenings, and has oodles of natural light during the day. Also, the Vietnamese stall is great.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I agree on the ease of access of Ponsonby, although I've taken Marcus to boy's lunch at Albert St several times, even when extremely crowded, and he's requested to go back, prefers the Japanese place there to St Lukes. The boy is developing taste! But I bet Leo would hate it with a passion. "Everyone is eating dog food!!".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    prefers the Japanese place there to St Lukes

    And the Lynnmall one is probably better than St Lukes, if you're malling.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

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